MENTAL HEALTH CORNER: How “easy-going” people are ultimately winning at life
by Julia Rhea, Southwest Mental Health Counselor
We all know the person who seemingly doesn’t worry about anything, unless we happen to be that person. They are perfectly fine with not planning for tomorrow, or what they will eat for lunch, or what type of career to pursue. They “go where the wind blows,” as many put it, never seeming to worry about anything.
Frustrating, right? As young adults, many of us were told not to be anything like them. Our parents instilled in us that worrying was a good quality, especially when it concerns your future or anything seemingly productive – in fact, worrying was considered a good indicator that you would be a successful adult who is conscientious of your decisions. Thus, we stereotyped “free spirited people” as directionless, lazy or unmotivated. What if I told you we were wrong with our assumptions?
Studies show that “easy-going” people:
- Live longer lives because of their low stress
- Report being happier overall, due to not constantly anticipating the future or being self-critical
- Are generally satisfied a majority of the time
Conversely, the population that fits into the “Type A” personality category often complains about increased stress, mild anxiety, feelings of self-doubt, and spreading themselves too thin.
What are “easy going” people doing that seemingly diligent, hyper-motivated, stringent people are not? They’re taking their time, breathing, relaxing and not spending free moments worrying, anticipating and constantly planning. They’re making the decision to accept life on life’s terms. They’re not looking to change everything. Instead, they are finding ways to adapt when it’s needed. Although adults and society as a whole may glamorize the busy-body, hyper-focused, stressed reality of adulthood, stressing and ultimately living an unhappy life because of it is a choice.
Stressing about tomorrow won’t make tomorrow come any faster. “Carefree” people have mastered the art of understanding that “life happens” and it’s okay. They’ll dust themselves off and try the task again, or maybe not? And that will still be okay. I challenge us all to take something from those that we used to look down on because of their relaxed way of viewing life.
To seek a healthier mindset, we should incorporate the characteristics of both types of personalities. It’s okay to care about your future, but not to the point where you can’t sleep at night! It’s okay to be carefree and unbothered, but not to the degree where you’re not accomplishing anything. Life is about balance and we can’t forget that.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from anxiety due to academic stress, relationships, family life, financial issues, or something entirely unrelated, please make an appointment with the Department of Counseling and Social Services. We’d love to help you work through these tough times!